Friday, 25 March 2011

Deleted Scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One

First of all watch this: and then read this.

Now one of the questions that puzzled me dearly about the film was where were the Dursley's? Fair enough they did make an appearance of the briefest nature with the three figures getting into the car. Now with the book being split into two films it seems to me incredulous that they couldn't have extended the first film by one or two minutes to allow for the Dursley's to have a proper goodbye.

Not giving them long enough to explain themselves they couldn't even show Dudley because the actor Harry Melling has got so thin that it is no longer possible to tell who he is. Surely though they could have included that scene where Dudley and Harry share a moment, because it was a good moment.

Watching this deleted scene I am shocked that they didn't include it. Fiona Shaw is brilliant and Daniel Radcliffe is almost alright (which is an improvement believe me). This clip would also explain Pertunia's real feelings which is something that needs to be understood for what is to come in the Prince's  tale. Of course this is a sign that in the Prince's tale we won't be seeing much of Pertunia either, it shall instead simply be about Snape, which isn't too bad but still.

Anyway this clip has been uselessly discarded, I can't wait to see what else they've deleted, and I feel I shall be just as angry.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Battle of the Cake Shows

There has been an explosion of cake related programmes hitting our screens. The leading heads of these programmes happen to be: "Ace of Cakes", "Ultimate Cake Off", "Cupcake Wars" and "Cake Boss". I am not complaining, I mean who doesn't like cake.

Ace of Cakes paved the way in 2006 and has lead to this revolution of frosting covered cake perfection. This is a show that in makes every programme the focus of a week in the life of a specialised cake shop headed by Duff Goldman. The programme has a well groomed essence to it with ten seasons behind it, every year it does get better because it has to to get people to watch it, and this is great. I have lots of problems with the programme though, the main problem is the cakes- they aren't really that good: if you look up the price of them on the Internet they cost a couple of thousand pounds which is ridiculous for cake which is 50/ 50 when it comes to whether there amazing (R2D2 made out of cake sort of amazing), or simply a bodge job that barely gets a mention on the show. One of my biggest problems with the whole thing is Duff himself, at the start (in the first few seasons that I watched) he is bearable and you find him to be just the cake dude, but then after a while you get the picture that he is just this barrel of annoying, money grabbing ego obssesed geek who barely ever makes any of the cakes but still manages to get the glory.

Cupcake Wars is a lot more bitchy than the other cake programmes and at the same time it is the most boring. The idea that the teams in the programmes simply have to make a batch of cup cakes is just a bit unshocking and unamazing. Still its a good laugh and the competitive element is great.

Cake Boss is amazing in the sense that it is Ace of Cakes but ten times better. Cake Boss started in 2009 and it is about family run bakers that speacialises in amazing cakes run by Buddy Valastro. It is better in the way that the cake shop is a working bakery already and that they have been doing the same as Ace of Cakes for years. The cakes are ten times more amazing (in most cases) and the skill involved is ten fold. The way that it is family run is interesting to the programme because it creates a great comedy value that is not forced or weird like in Ace of Cakes.

Ultimate Cake Off beats hands down when it comes to the actual cakes because unlike those created in Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes the contestants don't have a matter of days to make a cake but instead they only have several hours. Of course the programme is contrived and even the judges, that are the same every week, have no real connection with the audience (something that could be changed by getting hold of John and Greg from Masterchef). Anyway that cakes are amazing and bringing them together in so short a time is also amazing. The best bits have to be when the cakes fall over.

Therefore I conclude if you want some original, slightly annoying cake fun watch Ace of Cakes. If you want to see competition watch Ultimate Cake Off or Cupcake Wars. Finally Cake Boss wins hands down, enjoyable fun with Buddy and all his family of cake makers.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Whats better The Matrix or Inception?

Some people say that two films: Inception (2010) and The Matrix (1999) are very similar in mind bending themes and so on. The two films may be separated by a decade or so and some would argue The Matrix is now dated but the comparison is still notable. It therefore falls to us to question what is the better of the two.

Having watched The Matrix several times I can honestly say that it may be slightly cheesy with the constant repetition at the end with:
Morpheus: He's the one!
Trinity: He's the one but I'm afraid
Weird guy on computer (didn't decide to come back for sequel- good call): He's the one (with eyebrow twitch)
Neo: I'm the one
- Ok I think you get the point. Anyway this poor sense of cheesy rubbish is eclipsed by the shear action that comes at the end and the gun totting/ leather clad/ machine gun wielding/ jumping over buildings/ karate/ hoover craft explosions etc. that comes with the film in general.

The Matrix also has the plus of having a much simpler story than Inception (the sort of story that you only have to watch the film twice to get). Inception meanwhile takes at least three or four times to truly understand. The Matrix also handles the clue-in (the part where the butch guy in the film fillls in another character and therefore the audience) in a much better way with a ten minute or so mush of well flowing plug in sessions which lets Morpheus explain the whole thing. In Inception meanwhile you've got Leonardo DiCaprio sitting in a cafe and fare enough the buildings around him explode but he doesn't exactly explain it all and it takes the rest of the film to divulge this confusing idea of dreams.

Inception has the better affects and is on a much larger scale. The whole Paris thing was pretty amazing. I also love Christopher Nolan's choice to film as many scenes as he could in real life sets that were then suspended to different angles. You could argue that The Matrix is just as accomplished for its day, it to excelled with the use of green screen to create action sequences which until then had been impossible.

The cast in both films are something to note. The Matrix went with a mix of established and unestablished actors that blended well, the main three Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), Trinity (Carey- Anne Moss) and Neo (Keanu Reeves- who reminds me so much of Carter from ER) are especially good. In Inception meanwhile you have a mix of the greatest film stars of the decade and this makes it a bit wow! and for good reason.

I think the endings of the two films tell you a lot about their greatness. Inception has one of the best endings I have seen in a long while, the idea that you don't know if he is in a dream or not is fantastic for debates. The Matrix also has a great ending with the whole flying thing (the phone box thing being admittedly a little cheesy in dialogue), the music that then faced the credits really gave a punch of excitement (which made you forget the cheese). The difference between the greatness of both endings is that The Matrix's ending wasn't the end but the end of one film that would then lead on to two more. If the Wachowski brothers had been brave and stopped with The Matrix there would be a decent contest between it and Inception. 

As much as I want to say that Inception wins hand down I can't. Inception is a brutally cold film that needs a Carrie-Anne Moss figure because otherwise it should just say what it is a mans film  with action that is more substance than story. Even thinking about the two main women characters in Inception- one is  a pathetic student that doesn't even flirt with Leonardo DiCaprio's character (I mean its the perfect guy from Titanic), and the other is a psychotic French women, both hopelessly unrealistic and sexist (if you ignore my Titanic comment).

I personally, through much difficulty, admit that however cheesy and gritty The Matrix is, however bad its sequels are (and I mean Prince of Persia bad- ergh!), it is the better of the two. Of course I could be wrong so I suggest you comment on how much you now hate me for dissing one of the best 2010 films.  

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

A New Age of Chefs

To make it clear to everyone, two or three years I was not annoyed in the slightest by tv chefs. Jamie Oliver was simply cooking, Heston Blumenthal was a guest on a couple of cooking shows, Masterchef was a simple cooking programme, Ready Steady Cook was still amusing. Now bamb! its 2011 and all chefs think they're Gods.

First of all what is up with "Jamies 30 Minute Meals" it is a complete and utter farce! I mean if Oliver's being honest he should simply call the programme "Jamies not so thirty minute meals" because I tell you they are impossible to complete in anything shorter of at least two hours. When he's cooking in "his" kitchen he's got the bonus of everything already being prepped ready for him- if anyone else wanted to this they would have to spend an hour, cutting/ slicing/ dicing/ grating/ buying/ washing/ open packets etc. Also isn't it amazing how his oven warms up within minutes. I tell you what if you want to watch Jamie Oliver do anything that is remotely entertaining- watch the episode of Jamies Food Revolution in America when he realises no one cares about him and he begins crying. A few last words on the Jamie Oliver subject- Sainsbury Advert "Don't just eat food taste it", I could give him a few choice words in response to his.

This years Masterchef has also annoyed me no end. What is up with making it into an x- factor cook off thing. What was wrong with the old format, the viewer rating enough must have shown that this was popular. Where is the ingredients test? The BBC even realise its rubbish putting it on two days a week. The BBC are to blame though for selling it off in the first place! If it wasn't for John and Greg I would give up watching.

Then you've got snob of snobs Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall who takes up programme space beyond programme space with his wittering on about how he is better than normal people because he can afford to buy a whole cow and get a butcher round to talk to him about it. Why can't someone introduce this weirdo to a thing called- Tesco, no he has to pick his apples and eat the worms and all, then he's eating weeds.

But the evil of all super evil chefs is Heston Blumenthal. He has literally taken over the whole of a little picturesque village called Bray. He's already bought the villages only two pubs and restaurant- why doesn't he just stick a sign up saying "welcome to Blumenthal land". Then what is up with these programmes about changing restaurants menus- leave Little Chef alone it may sell rubbish food that tastes like eating cardboard but that's what you look for in a Little Chef, NOT SNAIL PORRIDGE.

Anyway I give up. I advise if you want  to watch something to do with food just watch the eating side of it- Man Versus Food. 

The Best of British

Now that the Oscar buzz has depleted with the same feeling that you get after Christmas, you got all your presents (this year they were the ones we wanted aka THE KINGS SPEECH winning everything, of course you did end up with an unwanted jumper from your aunty Violet aka. Natalie Portman winning best actress, but you can always forget about that) now you’ve got to face the months to come. In the months to it seems that there is going to be a tough ride of stormy seas for the UK Film Council which has practically keeping British film (or should I say decent British film) alive. Feeling troubled by what will become of the British Film Industry I decided to look at my top ten British films:
1. Kind Heart and Coronets (1949)
I decided to start with one of my personal favourites and one that deserves great consideration. This is one of the legendary Ealing comedies and by far one of the greatest. The film is also easily Sir Alec Guisness' finest work, him playing the entire D'Ascoyne family- all eight of them. Dennis Price plays the straight man that just happens to be a murdering psychopath. The story itself is something that is incredulous in the way that is amazingly clever, the idea that Price wants to become the next Duke of D'Ascoyne managing to murder all of them in ever more interesting ways. The whole thing is a load of twists and turns that make a lot of sinister comedy  aith a mild manor. Seriously ten out of ten stuff.
2. Wallace and Gromit (1989-2008)
Ok so this is a bunch of four short animated films and one feature length one but I don't think that the only true film gives justice to this truely amazing franchise that has but Britian on the map. Too get an essence of the simple story of a plastecine man and his dog you really have to watch them from the first to the last. I think they had to be on my list because Wallace and Gromit is the shear definition of all things British. (One question meanwhile is why Wallace and Gromit can't be the mascots for London 2012)
3. Passport to Pimlico (1949)
First of all this film contains many of the British comedy acting presence of its golden age and they are all shown off to their full brilliance: Hermione Baddeley, Stanley Holloway, Raymond Huntley etc. This is the film that best describes the British spirit- it may cause the most anti British fellow to start singing the national anthem.
4. Oliver! (1968)
I don't know if it is from watching this twenty thousand times that I have come to love this as the greatest musical of all time. This retelling of the classic Dickens tale is by far the best out of the hundreds that have been attempted. Carol Reed managed to create the vibrant life of Victorian London in all its glory. The simple fact that Oliver Reed and Ron Moody are in its cast makes it even better.
5. Educating Rita (1983)
This simple tale of university lecturer and his Open University student and their struggles to teach other something about life and English Literature. It is a bitter sweet tale that is from the pen of the legendary Willy Russel (Blood Brothers) which means great writing with some truly great lines. The two main characters also happen to be  played by Julie Walters and Micheal Caine doing possibly their finest work.

6. The Belles of St Trinian's (1954)
I don't think it can or will get better than this, the original St Trinians film that has inspired several sequals (some good, some so bad that they make you violently ill at the mere mention of them- I'm sorry for the reminder) and millions of school girls all round the world. A comedy that sets the bar way above the usual. The casual blend of British pompous humour with some of the greatest actors of any age: Alastair Sim (who plays a brother and sister), Joyce Grenfell, George Cole, Hermione Baddeley, Rene Houston, Irene Handl, Joan Sims etc. The idea that in an age where women were still thought of as quite submissive characters, compared to their current status, it is amazing how they have been portrayed. It may not be the type of laugh out loud comedy (although it has its moments) this is something that never becomes an issue and is still fantastically witty. This is a lot better than most comedy films of any age.

7. The 39 Steps  (1935)
Alfred Hitchcock is amazing- this is a simple fact that cannot and shall not be fogotten. He is able to bring together a film unlike any other director, he is the only one that is not overcome by a single element of his film instead he values: acting/ writing/ setting and so on as the same. The only thing that he ever values more than anything else is the story of the film and this is exactally how it should be. This film is one of his earlier films and therefore set in Britain and it is truly brilliant. The thriller/ mystery is amazing in its sweeping story that keep a brilliant pace right to the end. Staring Robert Donat who is good looking and an amazing actor. This is a  film that is maybe not the best Hitchcock film, but it is certainly great in its own right.

8. Harry Potter (2001-2011)
Ok say I am braking the rules again and this is again techniqually more than simply one film, it is infact eight. I couldn't ignore though the decade of hard work that has gone into making Britain's most significantly international film franchise to date. I have metioned the Harry Potter film franchise in earlier blogs so I won't go into to much detail but this is a franchise that I think will one day be attemptedly remade but to ever that person is I say "you idiot" because it will never have the same cast and crew through all seven books worth and it will never have the same hype- nor should it.

9. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
A film that is clever and amazingly funny. Showing off the full extent of the Monty Python's  shear talent. The whole thing is strangely surreal and although rough and this adds to the comedy of the film. The main idea of the film is funny enough and the way they play with the story of Jesus is incredible, especially in the way that offends everyone and yet no one really cares for laughter.

10. The Kings Speech  (2010)
It can't be ignored- this is going to one of those films that is remembered as one of those films that will be rememberd as a combination of great British and Australian talent. Maybe it isn't historically correct but I really, really don't care. It's nice, sweet, clever, feel good and therefore brilliant. I'm not sure if it will be a legendarily remembered except for the amount of Oscars won but at the moment at least it deserves its posistion.